Who can be consecrated?
Who can be consecrated?
The 1970 Prænotanda to the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity states the following requirements for women living in the world to receive the consecration:
1. that they have never married or lived in open violation of chastity;
2. that by their, prudence, and universally approved character they give assurance of perseverance in a life of chastity dedicated to the service of the church and of their neighbor.
3. that they be admitted to this Consecration by the Bishop who is the local Ordinary.
The consecrated virgin in a particular way images the Church as virgin-bride of Christ, and, because of this, it is assumed that a woman who aspires to Consecration has been living tranquilly a private resolve of perpetual virginity for the sake of Jesus Christ for several years. She has the gift of physical virginity to offer to Christ, as she has not knowingly and deliberately engaged in sexual relations at any time during her life. [It is important to note that women who may not have the gift of physical virginity to offer to Christ may still make some form of personal consecration to Christ or pursue another form of Consecrated Life, such as being a member of a religious institute or a secular institute, or living an eremetical life.] A woman who has engaged in sexual relations before Baptism, or a woman whose marriage has been annulled, is not eligible to receive the consecration of virgins. In cases in which the loss of physical virginity was not intended by the woman, for example in case of rape or involuntary incest, she remains eligible for the consecration of virgins.
It is the Bishop who determines the conditions under which the candidate is to undertake a life of perpetual virginity lived in the world. A period of discernment and preparation, normally under the direction of a spiritual director, precedes the Consecration in order to ensure the virgin’s understanding of and readiness to receive this sacramental.
The Consecration is irrevocable. As a definitive act on the part of the Church, it constitutes an individual in a particular state of holiness. Therefore the virgin presenting herself for Consecration must be mature and ready to embrace the vocation for a lifetime. She has tranquilly lived a private promise of perpetual virginity for some years before seeking the Consecration of a Virgin. The Church has never stated an upper age limit.
It is understood that a woman aspiring to the Consecration of a Virgin is able to support herself by work or pension or independent means and has provided financially for her medical care.
The candidate for the consecration practices her faith and accepts the teaching of Scripture and the Church. She has a well-grounded spiritual life, possesses a capacity and readiness for personal growth, and is able to give herself totally to God and to the Church.